Gift to IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy creates Melvin Simon Chair in Philanthropy
INDIANAPOLIS -- Philanthropist and community leader Cynthia Simon Skjodt is creating the Melvin Simon Chair in Philanthropy at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to honor her late father’s prolific generosity, Founding Dean Gene Tempel has announced.
Melvin Simon, co-founder and co-chairman of Simon Property Group, was a visionary leader in philanthropy. The chair is being established through a $1.5 million endowment gift from Skjodt and the Samerian Foundation, which she founded.
“Mel Simon was one of the most generous people I’ve ever met; his passion for helping others forever changed the Central Indiana community and improved the lives of thousands of people here and across the country,” said Charles R. Bantz, chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and executive vice president of Indiana University. “Through her own generosity and tireless volunteer leadership with countless causes, Cindy is making a tremendous difference. We are delighted and honored that she has chosen to celebrate her father’s outstanding philanthropic legacy with this wonderful gift to our school.”
The Melvin Simon Chair in Philanthropy will help the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy attract and retain world-class faculty members to advance its goal of improving philanthropy to improve the world. The chair holder will teach and conduct cutting-edge research at the school to educate future philanthropy and nonprofit leaders and to increase the understanding and impact of philanthropy and the causes it supports.
“My father inspired me many years ago to take pride in my community, to help lift up others and to recognize that giving financially is just as important as giving of your time and attention,” Skjodt said. “Philanthropy is the best resource to accomplish that. Education was also important to him, and it gives me so much personal pleasure to honor him with this chair at IUPUI. I hope that I am able to inspire my children, family, friends and others to give back and truly understand the need and the importance of being philanthropic.”
Melvin Simon made an enormous, lasting impact with his charitable giving in Indiana and nationally. He and his family have been particularly generous to Indiana University, including a $50 million gift to the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis, the creation of Simon Hall on the Bloomington campus, and support for the life sciences and many other programs. Other recipients of his generosity include Riley Children’s Foundation, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and other organizations benefitting health care and the arts.
Skjodt received her Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University and her Master of Science from Butler University. In addition to the Samerian Foundation, her present civic activities are with the Indiana Pacers Foundation, American Cancer Society Guild, Cancer Support Center, Central Indiana Community Foundation, CHIP Indy, Indiana Sports Corp., Indiana University Foundation, Indianapolis 500 Festival Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation, Methodist Health Foundation and the William E. English Foundation.
The gift to create the Melvin Simon Chair in Philanthropy is part of the recently concluded IUPUI IMPACT campaign -- the largest and most successful comprehensive fundraising campaign in Indiana University’s nearly 200-year history -- and is also part of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Moving Philanthropy Forward $100 million endowment initiative. The initiative seeks support for endowed faculty chairs, student scholarships, research and training programs for philanthropy and nonprofit professionals. To date, the school has received more than $72 million in gifts and pledges.
“Led by Mel’s example, Cindy and the Simon family are models for thoughtful, effective philanthropic leadership,” Tempel said. “They are generous, forward-thinking partners of Indiana University and many other organizations, and they inspire others to greater generosity. The contributions of future faculty members who will hold the Melvin Simon Chair in Philanthropy will further enhance and build upon that inspiring legacy.”
About IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy on Twitter or “Like” us on Facebook.